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April 25, 2022
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5 min. read

10 Phishing Training Lessons For Your Employees

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What is one of the most significant risks to the cybersecurity of any business? Unfortunately, it’s the employees themselves. Human errors most commonly lead to severe data breaches causing a loss of millions of dollars.

Cybercriminals use different phishing techniques by sending fake emails and cloning official login web pages. Moreover, they combine modified files with regular zipped files to perform a phishing attack.

That’s why it’s essential to arrange organization-wide phishing training programs for employees. This way, the companies can prevent the risk of cyberattacks, operational disruption, data, and financial loss.

Essential 10 Phishing Training For Employees

Employees within an organization access business-critical information, client data, financial information, and other confidential data daily. Hence, they are assets and themost considerable risk to the business cybersecurity.

Around one-third of the total data breaches in 2020involved phishing. Cybercriminals steal employees' information, such as login details and account passwords. Furthermore, around 75 percent of the business worldwide revealed experiencing phishing attacks in 2020, which is shocking.

Whether the employees work remotely or in a hybrid office, the business must prevent all possible phishing attacks by arranging the following phishing training programs.

1. Domain Spoofing

It’s one of the most common types of phishing attacks in which the hacker impersonates one of the employees by using the organization's domain.

Domain spoofing can be classified into email spoofing and website spoofing. The cybercriminals send the emails using false domain names appearing legitimate.Alternatively, they can set up websites that look authentic by using attractive visual designs, branding, logos, and styling.

Next, the emails and websites request the users to enter their personal information, such as company login ID, passwords, and credit card details.

More than 96 percent of the companies suffer from different types of domain spoofing attacks. Therefore, besides implementing cybersecurity, such as sender policy framework (SPF), DomainKeys IdentifiedMail (DKIM), and others, the organization must train the employees to identify a spoofing attack and how to prevent it.

2. Spear Phishing

This phishing attack uses a targeted open-source intelligence (OSINT) to gain unauthorized access to organization information via the website and social media.

It’s an advanced form of phishing attack in which the hackers perform extensive social engineering to steal financial information and other sensitive data from the target employees. In the next step, the hackers target the employees using real names and job designations, so the email recipient considers the email from a legitimate sender.

The attackers access the social media accounts to access information, such as real name, email ID, hometown, and other visited locations. Once the attackers have all such personal details, they disguise themselves as acquaintances of the targets, such as co-workers and friends, to lure them into sharing sensitive information.

The employees with an in-depth understanding of the organization's cyber security don’t share their login details within and outside the office.

3. CEO Fraud

As the name suggests, the hackers impersonate the CEO of an organization to send an email to the new and low-level employees. Such emails trick the users into sharing their personal information and company login details.

For instance, the CEO asks the employee to pay for the vendor or supplier invoice attached in the email using new account details. In CEO fraud, the hackers use advanced techniques to instruct the employees to conduct a payment. Obviously, the employees will do what the CEO instructs them to do.

According to the UK Finance report, CEO Fraud is among the top eight types of fraud that target the organization and consumers.

A phishing training program about the CEO fraud emails highlights the suspicious indications, such as the sense of urgency, email tone, spelling and grammatical mistakes, and display name.

4. Whaling

Whaling is a form of spear phishing in which cybercriminals specifically target the organization's executives and high-level employees known was “whales”. As the targets are usually more aware and trained against social engineering attempts cybercriminals use methods that are tailored to the victim, often referencing to accurate details about the business.

Successful whaling attacks are especially dangerous as top executives often have greater access to company data, intellectual property and financial systems.

The organization should train the executives and top-level employees so they are aware of such attacks in the first place, and secondly instil a culture of trust-but-verify.For example, the teams can double-check with the CXOs if they have sent an email requiring an online transaction or funds transfer from the employees.

5. Vishing

Vishing is the short form of “Voice phishing” in which the hackers trick the employees over the phone to share confidential information, such as name, mother’s name, address, date of birth, etc.

The attackers usually pose as bank personnel to verify the account information and conduct a transaction. Alternatively, the hacker impersonates an employee from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to validate the tax returns by requiring access to the Social Security number.

If he organization trains the employees regarding vishing, they’ll be able to verify the sender by evaluating the caller number. These numbers are usually different from the regular ones with unusual country codes. Furthermore, the receiver can always ask the caller to verify the information and source.

6. Smishing

In such a kind of evolved phishing attack, the hacker sends a text message to the employee requiring him to take some action. Hence, the text message contains a link to a website URL which seems accurate. Clicking the link installs the malware automatically in the background on the user’s device.

The trained employees who undergo phishing training programs can distinguish between the actual and fake URL by reviewing the prefixes, sender number, and text message content.

7. Angler Phishing

The hackers send direct messages or notifications on social media platforms to the users asking them to perform some action. For instance, the attackers usually impersonate the customer service social media account to reach out to the potential targets and consumers.

The hackers are getting smart every passing day as they activate notifications.Once a consumer posts any complaint about a company, the attackers get the alerts. So it becomes convenient for them to reach out to them as customer support. But unfortunately, the users don’t verify the account details and share their personal information.

The phishing training programs successfully train the employees to identify the malicious notifications. Also, they inform them not to click on the links included in messages, emails, text messages, and pop-up windows.

8. Pharming

In a pharming attack, the attackers clones an authentic website and redirects online website traffic from an authentic website to a fake website to steal important personal information. For example, the hacker can spoof a website that the user regularly visits, such as e-commerce, where they enter their financial information. This might be done a fraudulent link sent through email, manipulating search engine results or in the worst case hacking the domain’s DNS.

The cybersecurity awareness programs allow the employees to look for tiny mistakes on the websites, such as:

●     Font changes

●     Misspellings

●     Malicious links

Once the employees are thoroughly trained, they can successfully distinguish a fake website from a real one.

9. Pop-up Phishing

Many websites use pop-up prompts on the website asking the user to for some desired action.

Ina pop-up phishing attack, the hackers implant a malicious code in the pop-up or prompt windows that appear on the websites on the browser. As a result, when a person clicks on the pop-up window, it installs malware on the computer or laptop. The malware or the virus further spreads via the network to disrupt the daily operations, corrupt the critical information, damage, or delete it.Pop-ups can also be used to collect credentials by imitating a login screen.

10. Clone Phishing

As the name suggests, the cybercriminal clones an original email sent from a trusted source and then makes subtle changes to it such as replacing genuine links or attachments with malicious links or attachments. Once the user clicks on these, a virus or the malware installs on the receiver’s computer or credentials or an attempt to harvest the receivers credentials is launched.

Clone phishing emails are usually sent from an address that impersonates the genuine email address which the user expects from the original source. As a result, the attackers exploit the victims,' trust to trick them into opening the malicious document.



Phishing training programs play a crucial role in teaching the employees to recognize all possible types of phishing attacks discussed above. As a result, the employees can recognize the malicious emails, incorrect sender email addresses, grammatical mistakes on the websites, and fraudulent pop-up messages and websites.

Cybersecurity awareness platforms, such as Hoxhunt, empower employees with the skills and confidence to recognize and respond to attacks wherever they arise. More over, it provides security teams with real-time visibility into threats to react fast and limit their spread.

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